Hearst buys into Mark Burnett Productions

Hearst has bought into Mark Burnett’s production company and created a programming joint venture with the reality TV producer.

The JV will focus on making content, events and spin-off TV shows around Hearst brands. The media conglomerate owns A&E Television, a chunk of ESPN and has diverse publishing interests including Cosmopolitan and Esquire magazines.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and the deal excludes Burnett’s reality series Survivor, which airs on CBS in the US, and The Apprentice, which airs on NBC.

“We see the media production business as a great opportunity to leverage Hearst’s brands across platforms and continue our move into new businesses,” said Hearst CEO, Frank A. Bennack, Jr. “We see this as a growth opportunity for us that diversifies our revenue streams and we are happy to have Mark – a visionary in the reality genre-as a partner.”

Scott Sassa, president, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, will lead the JV’s board along with Burnett.

“Together, we have a vision to create shows that have 360-degree businesses built around them,” Sassa. “We will create businesses around every screen that are both in- and out-of-home experiences, and linear and interactive in nature.”

Burnett said, “‘Content is King,’ and with more screens needing entertaining content now than at any time in history, that statement is truer than ever. Hearst’s iconic brands will be an incredible creative addition for me and will translate perfectly into the vision for the future that Frank, Scott and I all share.”

There are already projects in the works, Burnett added.

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